What Goes Into Ramen Noodles, and What Happens When Ramen Noodles Go Into You

Here in South Korea, where I’ve stayed for about a month, I’ve noticed peo­ple eat­ing quite a lot of instant ramen noo­dles. And not just out of those pre-pack­aged cups you pour hot water into, which we all remem­ber from our stu­dent days. They put the stuff in every­thing, espe­cial­ly the dish­es you least expect. They’ve made some­thing of a nation­al culi­nary art form of throw­ing instant ramen into var­i­ous tra­di­tion­al stews and soups, thus sig­nif­i­cant­ly rais­ing the sta­tus of that ulti­mate low-sta­tus food. But when we talk about ramen with­out the “instant” in front of it, it can sud­den­ly take us straight into the realm of the gourmet: the Ivans and the Momo­fukus of the worlds, for instance. In the short video above, you can see what kind of high­ly non-instant process Sun Noo­dle, the sup­pli­er to those fine U.S.-based ramen hous­es and oth­ers, goes through to make a first-class prod­uct.

But why pay for the best when the cost of a sin­gle meal at Momo­fuku could buy all the instant ramen you’d ever need? Per­haps the project above from artist and TEDx­Man­hat­tan video pre­sen­ter Ste­fani Bardin will go some way to answer­ing the ques­tion. In it, she uses a gas­troin­testi­nal cam­era pill to record what it looks inside our bod­ies when we eat “whole foods” — hibis­cus Gatorade, pome­gran­ate and cher­ry juice Gum­mi Bears, home­made chick­en stock with hand­made noo­dles — ver­sus when we eat “processed foods” — blue Gatorade, reg­u­lar Gum­mi Bears, and, yes, good old instant ramen. For a far more pleas­ant fol­low-up to that har­row­ing visu­al expe­ri­ence, revis­it how to make instant ramen cour­tesy of Japan­ese ani­ma­tion direc­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki, which we fea­tured last year. And if it gets you feel­ing ambi­tious, why not find some more chal­leng­ing ramen recipes on Cook­pad, the Japan­ese cook­ing site new­ly launched in Eng­lish? Or do as the Kore­ans some­times do and com­bine it with fish cake, eggs, and a slice of Amer­i­can cheese — if you can stom­ach it.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How to Make Instant Ramen Com­pli­ments of Japan­ese Ani­ma­tion Direc­tor Hayao Miyza­ki

Cook­pad, the Largest Recipe Site in Japan, Launch­es New Site in Eng­lish

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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